Souvenir shopping is the best and only way to pick up wonderful gifts for friends and family, as well as mementos for yourself, so you can look back on them fondly and remember the amazing time you had on your cruise getaway. Purchasing authentic handicrafts is a great way to bring a little slice of culture home with you, whilst also helping to keep local traditions and customs alive. For this reason, we have picked out a few of the best destinations around the world at which to find and buy authentic handicrafts.
Norwegian folk art is incredible popular in northern Europe, with hundreds of quaint and quirky arts and crafts retailers distributed throughout Norway – in towns and cities including Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim.
One of the most popular traditional style of folk art in Norway is rosemaling – or rose painting. Rosemaling spawned from early renaissance paintings and quickly became an admired form of decorative art found in many Norwegian homes. This style of painting is characterised by its flowery design, often incorporating roses or tulips in distinctive swirling patterns. Rosemaling is usually associated with artists who have had limited trained and approaches can vary from region to region.
Several types of authentic handicrafts have emerged from Italy over the centuries, including the world-famous Murano glass. Murano glass has been produced on the Venetian island of Murano for centuries and is nowadays one of the region’s most popular souvenirs. The modern glassmakers of Murano still use century-old techniques, preserving the traditions and customs laid down by their forefathers. The glass can be forged in a variety of colours and styles, producing beautiful and diverse artefacts.
Porcelain figurines are also well-known as a form of Italian handicraft, especially in the city of Naples. Neapolitan figurine production is believed to date back as far the 13th century, when Saint Francis of Assisi commissioned the creation of a nativity scene. Since then, these intricate models have become a part of the local culture and are widely available in an array of designs and themes.
The authentic handicrafts of Peru are amongst the most diverse and impressive in the world. Visitors will discover a profusion of Peruvian artisans upon arrival in the country, from the capital city of Lima to the remote surrounding towns and villages. Peruvians are particularly proud of their historic culture, which has intertwined with arts and crafts over the centuries, spawning a varied range of authentic handicrafts.
Tourists in Peru will find a plethora of local arts and crafts, elaborately decorated with colourful patterns and complex carvings. Peruvian handicrafts are especially varied, so tourists will find an array of items including jewellery, textiles, paintings, pottery, carvings and tiny human figurines known as retablos.
Japan boasts a number of wonderfully-preserved and authentic handicrafts, many of which are officially recognised and protected, including some that are specialised to a certain region, known as meibutsu. The majority of these local arts and crafts have been around for centuries, passed down from generation to generation and still available to this day.
Traditional silk-weaving in Kyoto – known as Yuzen – can be traced back as far as the 15th century when these elegant fabrics where worn by the emperors and their key subjects. Modern day kimonos are produced using the same techniques and are available in the majority of traditional Japanese souvenir shops. Other popular authentic handicrafts from Japan include Izumo paper-making, samurai metal-work, thread-wrapped Temari balls and hair ornaments, traditionally worn by geishas and apprentices.
South Africa is full of budding artists producing a range of authentic handicrafts. Many of these artists will set up stalls on markets or at the side of the road and sell their arts and crafts to passers-by for very little money at all. South African art has come a long way in recent years, forging inroads into the western art community and becoming ever more popular, which is why the country is quickly becoming a hotspot for the art world.
In terms of the nation’s authentic handicrafts – available in towns and cities across South Africa – a wide range of innovative materials are used, including fabrics, leathers, glass, plastic bags, beads, grass, bottle tops and even tin labels. Items made of wire, including model cars, motorbikes and mobiles phone, are also available from dealers on many street corners.
To book your cruise and discover a fabulous selection of authentic handicrafts all over the world, call our Cruise Concierge on the number at the top of this page or click here for our latest deals.
(1) Mamun2a – wikimedia.org
(2) Aaron Logan – flickr.com
(3) Ziga – wikimedia.org